The Rainmaker is an utterly predictable film. With that said, I have to tell you that I really loved The Rainmaker. Being predictable is a small flaw that is easily overlooked because of it being a well-directed, well-acted, and fun movie.
Having come out of seeing the last courtroom drama, Red Corner, The Rainmaker comes as a surprise to how it handles the courtroom scenes. Which is to say the courtroom scenes are put at a minimum while the personal side of the lawyers is shown more. This easily takes away most of the cliched courtroom scenes (the surprise witness, the talking killer, etc) and introduces a warmth to a courtroom/legal system film.
Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) is newly out of law school. He joins up with a firm that is, unbeknownst to him, dirty and is headed up by a scoundrel lawyer, Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke). While in the firm he has two cases that he continues to pursue from a law workshop, the big one is what the film concentrates on, but the smaller one is not overlooked either.
The enemy in The Rainmaker is an insurance company. Rudy’s first big case is for a young man with leukemia fighting against the big insurance company. On the side he has a smaller case of writing a will for an elderly lady. And while at a hospital trying to field clients he meets and inevitably falls in love with a married and abused woman (Claire Daines). All these plot lines work well together during the film, and each touch the other in one way or another.
As the cops and a Federal probe gets closer and closer to Rudy’s dirty boss Bruiser, Rudy and Deck (Danny DeVito) take a wad of cash that Bruiser gives them and they start up their own law firm. What is nice is that the courtroom scenes are not “played up” for drama. Ford Coppola actually lets the two, Rudy and Deck, act nervous in court, and this puts a good down-to-earth spin to the courtroom scenes.
There is an added touch of comic relief that is added to The Rainmaker this makes the movie so much better than the average courtroom drama. The Rainmaker is not a comedy in any sense, but Ford Coppola is able to insert these small moments to get a laugh out of the audience.
There are some pretty big names in this film and they go from small parts to big parts. There are three big name stars in The Rainmaker that I loved the best. The first is a major role and that is Danny DeVito as Deck, the legal assistant to Rudy. Deck has tried the bar exam six times, but has yet to pass. Though at times it seems that Deck knows more than Rudy, who has passed the bar. DeVito gives a great performance in The Rainmaker. The second big name performance that I loved was that of Danny Glover as the judge Tyrone Kipler. Though Glover’s part is small, he does a wonderful job with it, and he is just a joy to see on the screen again (I last saw him in Switchback). Last but not least is Jon Voight as the high paid scummy lead lawyer serving for the insurance company. Voight who I last saw overacting in the horrible Most Wanted, redeems himself here in The Rainmaker. His performance as the lead lawyer, Leo F. Drummond, is brilliant, and you can just seem the slim dripping off of him.
But, the real star of The Rainmaker is Matt Damon as Rudy. Damon gives a wonderful performance as Rudy and as the film is setup he has a lot of performing to do. His part is the center of the film, and the film is basically a character study of his character. Damon does wonderfully in his part, and I hope to see him in more films soon.
The music by Elmer Bernstein is strange, but it most definitely fits the movie in most places. It changes moods constantly and consistently with the action on the screen, but for me the score sometimes sounded out of place.
After seeing a slew of bad films this fall, I’m happy to say that The Rainmaker is great movie. It is highly entertaining and though somewhat flawed it shouldn’t be missed because it is well-directed, well-acted, and just plain fun. Don’t Miss this film.